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July 13, 2017

Letter from Parliamentary Assistant Sophie Kiwala
regarding the Ontario government’s
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Strategy


Dear FASD Partner:

As Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Children and Youth Services, I am delighted to lead our government’s work to support children, youth and caregivers affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), and to increase awareness of this complex condition.

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) is steadfast in its commitment to enhancing services and meeting the needs of children, youth and families affected by FASD, which is why I am pleased to announce the Ontario government’s first-ever FASD strategy. This is a milestone in Ontario’s efforts to help people affected by FASD lead full and productive lives.

The 2017 Budget announced an investment of $26 million over four years to implement six initiatives that will form the foundation of our strategy:

The ministry recognizes the importance of increasing awareness about the consequences of prenatal alcohol exposure and is currently developing a plan to reach groups at risk for developing FASD.

As well, we are committed to continually seek advice and feedback on strategy implementation from individuals with FASD and their families through the establishment of a new FASD advisory group.

I also want to let you know that improving access to screening, assessment and diagnosis remains a priority focus of the government’s work on FASD. MCYS is working collaboratively with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to better understand FASD diagnostic services across Ontario. As part of this process, we are currently conducting a review of capacity in the province to identify gaps, opportunities and options. We will also work with our federal colleagues, including staff from the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada, to align provincial and federal initiatives to best support children, youth and families affected by FASD.

As we implement the first steps of the FASD strategy, I’d encourage you to visit the ministry’s website for updates at Ontario.ca/FASD.

Please accept my heartfelt thanks to all those who helped shape Ontario’s first-ever FASD strategy. I appreciate your ongoing support and commitment and look forward to continuing our work together.

Sincerely,

Sophie Kiwala
Parliamentary Assistant